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Diving into the Cosmic Reef

30 May 2020, 12:00 UTC
Diving into the Cosmic Reef
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The Hubble Space Telescope recently celebrated its 30th year, looking deep into the cosmos to bring us views that continue to awe and inspire us. The image of this year’s target, NGC 2020, is a fascinating landscape composed of two nebulas that give the impression of an underwater scene, leading to the affectionate name, the Cosmic Reef (check out Joseph DePasquale’s recent post to learn more about the objects and the process of making the image). As the image was being processed and the intricacies of the structure came to light, the visualization team decided that this image is definitely visualization worthy.

And so the process began.

How do you build the Cosmic Reef in 3D?

The visualization team at STScI has had a lot of experience building 3D visualizations of Hubble images and there is one problem that comes up when you try to build out most Hubble images for a 3D visualization: What does this object look like from another angle? We only see the structure from one view, so how do we know how deep the structure is? What’s behind that pillar of dust? To find the answers, we consult with colleagues at STScI who study the ...

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